Intl Development - East Africa Trip (June 2008) | July 8, 2008
My trip to
I arrived in
The five-day training workshop provided by Mukasa and Olivia Kanyesigye of SCA was well organized, with an impressive turn out by the 36 women who had signed up for the workshop as well as what seemed like every friend and family member in the area. The workshop was nicely structured to maximize information distribution, solar cooking and CooKit and hay basket construction, while allowing the flexibility to accommodate our surprise guests from Aid Africa (AA) who were able to make the trip from Gulu (approximately 150K) to demonstrate the 6-Brick Rocket Stove. I had met with Ken Goyer and Peter Keller in Sacramento the week before my departure and requested AA’s participation in our workshop, and was pleasantly surprised and impressed by how quickly they were able to mobilize their team in Uganda. Rather than send us a single representative for the workshop, we were honored by the presence of AA’s top four trainers, who came equipped with the materials and expertise to effectively demonstrate the importance of a fuel efficient stove as a fundamental component of Integrated Cooking. AA’s staff put on an impressive presentation demonstrating the construction and fundamentals of the Rocket Stove, and stayed two extra days to learn more about solar and integrated cooking, as well as water testing and treatment. A wonderful alliance was made and I look forward to productive and happy collaborations with our new friends at AA.
As a bonus to the workshop I was able to test five local sources of water in Obia, instructing our SCA & AA colleagues in depth and presenting the results to the workshop participants, providing a nice transition into the workshop’s water treatment and solar pasteurization segment.
In addition to this successful and rewarding workshop in
Hopes for the future in
What I had hoped would be a hop, skip and a jump across Lake Victoria turned into a day tour of capital airports of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, and a hopper from the coastal port of Dar es Salaam back up to the southeastern portion of Lake Victoria (not far from where I started) and the village town of Musoma. As it happened I arrived on the same flight as Marianne Walpert of TanzSolar, SCI’s newest cohort and solar collaborator. As referenced in previous reports, Marianne has recently established the nonprofit TanzSolar to provide affordable solar panels to rural internet providers, small businesses and local individuals. TanzSolar already has a strong foothold in the community as a result of a close collaboration with an old friend and colleague, Robi Machaba of Juasun, an internet company based in Musoma. Robi has lived in
With the help of Marianne and Robi I was able to meet with a good number of individuals in Musoma interested in assisting in the spread of solar cooking and water testing and treatment in the region. Approximately 20 people were in attendance for a demonstration at the TanzSolar compound, where I showed a PowerPoint presentation, highlights of the workshop in
Participants included European workers involved in nonprofit community development projects, as well as local business people affiliated with schools, churches and youth groups in the area. It was decided that once a solid group of 20+ community leaders are identified as dedicated to spearheading local training groups of their own in integrated cooking and water testing and treatment, SCI’s Katito crew will travel to Musoma to provide a week-long training. Both SCI-EARO and I will perform follow up counseling with the participants at set intervals throughout the next few years to assure proper usage and sustainability. In addition, TanzSolar will provide a space to store materials and information for further workshops and to encourage participants to facilitate further trainings. Between TanzSolar and colleagues at Juasun, there will be someone to receive and supervise materials and sales, providing an effective umbrella under which SCI will be able to successfully operate in northern
SCI’s EARO put on a comprehensive and effective demonstration of solar cooking throughout the workshop, providing delicious local solar cooked fare and explaining the process to participants during breaks and lunch demonstrations. The lecture and water testing portion of the workshop was followed by day trip in the field where participants were able to see local water sources where the water tested in the workshop was gathered, followed by a grand celebration outside Sunny Solution’s Katito office, including solar cooked food & crafts made by solar cooks, and an official ceremony honoring EARO's 10-year anniversary. The ceremony was an impressive and monumental tribute to the Safe Water Workshop and ten years of work well done in
I met the Director of Archway Technology Management, Ltd. at the event described above, and the following day Margaret and I attended the Stakeholders’ Forum for Sunny Solutions’ Evaluation. This preliminary seminar involved brainstorming sessions with local health workers, hotel/food vendors, development agents, fuel vendors, government workers, teachers and local solar cooks discussing benefits, challenges and techniques of solar cooking in the community. This information will be compiled into a questionnaire by Archway and distributed to the participants, the results to be combined with field work results and an analysis of documented paperwork from the Sunny Solutions offices. Archway’s Regional Director Akich Kwach and Team Leader Cleophas Onono struck me as professional and competent, and I hope that they will succeed in providing an accurate and useful portrayal of Sunny Solutions' accomplishments and identification of areas to improve effectiveness and productivity. It appeared to me that Archway’s approach was locally appropriate and possessed a solid and thorough base for analysis.
The African Women and Water Conference led by the women's organizations Women's Health Alliance, Crabgrass, Groots and A Single Drop was located at Wangaari Mathai's Greenbelt Center just outside
I accompanied Bob to the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation to meet with Chief Kepha Ombacha, Water Sanitation Officer Adam Muhommad Ahi, and Fred Donde of UNICEF. Mr. Ahi was one of the principal influences in the cholera testing referenced above. Each government representative expressed sincere appreciation for the process and materials and an enthusiastic faith in the future of the project, as well as an understanding of how necessary the PML is to their work. There was a self-ascribed emphasis on continued collaboration with WRMA and self-motivation on the part of active participants. Those who participated in the workshop will be called upon to initiate future trainings and we will look forward to reports of improved health in all regions soon.
Peace Corps Kenya was very receptive to our ambitions, and Director Ken Puvak has been a proponent of solar cooking for years. Public Health & Sanitation Assistant Director Timothy Kibet is interested in incorporating solar cooking and water pasteurization into secondary projects and volunteers' work with youth groups and schools. Bob will return later in his stay to instruct Timothy and Louis Othieno on water testing with the PML. There are two Peace Corps Volunteer trainings in the next few months in which Peace Corps would like to see SCI participate.
CARE Kenya works on programs involving HIV/AIDS, Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC), slums and refugee camps with UNHCR. Country Director Bud Crandall had limited time and was only able to ask some fundamental questions regarding time, cost, process and cultural acceptance, after which Bud surmised that a small project in the Dadab Refugee Camp might be worth a purchase of approximately 100 cookers to gauge interest and practicality in that area. We described some of our previous efforts in Dadab as well as other refugee camps, and Bud will potentially recommend solar cookers for one or more of their project sites in Sudan.
WHO Kenya seems primarily interested in Safe Water projects, and with whom Bob has had positive dealings with in the past, providing a nice foundation for our most recent collaborative push. I was able to show my PowerPoint presentation to Technical Program Officer Wilfred Ndego, but due to conflicts in schedules and communications, some important interested parties were not available until later that afternoon, to which Bob was able to come to the rescue as I prepared for my flight home. In addition to an interest in water testing and treatment, WHO also strongly promotes the reduction of Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) in their support of MOH, further enabling a seamless relationship between water treatment and solar cooking. Margaret will meet with James Teprey of the Emergency & Humanitarian Action (EHA) segment of WHO about possible collaborations in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) and refugee camps.
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